Are you tired of doing the same old thing every day at work? Do you feel that you missed your calling, or dream of doing something in which you could make more money or contribute more to the world? Changing your career is a challenging undertaking, but more and more people are doing it successfully in a world that is coming to appreciate the usefulness of individuals with multiple specialties. These tips will help you to decide whether or not it’s the right course of action for you.
Assess your career options
Everyone gets frustrated at work sometimes, but running away isn’t a practical option; you need something to run to. This means carefully examining your options and talking to people who have been working in those areas for years, because you need to know if your new career would really give you more satisfaction. You will need to balance your interest in particular areas with practical issues, working out how likely you would realistically be to find employment there, if you would need to take a salary cut, and how you would manage changes in your pension or employee benefits. If your dream career doesn’t seem achievable, consider other paths that might fall a little short of that but could still suit you much better than where you are now.
If you want somebody to hire you in a field in which you have limited expertise, it helps if they know you personally and appreciate what you’re capable of. Nothing is more useful when you’re changing career than networking and building up your contacts. LinkedIn can be a useful tool for this because it lets you establish, very quickly, who you know that has connections in a particular field. If you have a particular company in mind, even getting to know junior staff there can be useful because it can give you an insight into company culture and help you anticipate what might be asked of you at interview. You can also take this opportunity to learn what less-obvious new skills are likely to be useful to you.
Assess your transferable skills
You may already have skills that you’ve picked up in your current career that would help to make you employable in the new career that you want to pursue. Now is the time to identify them and think about how you could present them. Sometimes, you’ll find that your skills have relevance in unexpected areas. Language skills could also come in useful there, as the organization works extensively with Chinese art. By identifying overlapping skills like this, you could find a way into a sector.
No matter your outside interests, it’s unlikely that you’ll have all the skills that you need for your new career already. This means that you’ll need to seek out education or training opportunities. Taking evening classes or online correspondence courses, which are now available from some of the world’s leading universities, gives you the opportunity to build up your skills discreetly without your current employer knowing about it. As an alternative, you could save up money and take a year or two out to retrain. If you have a degree, you might be able to pursue a postgraduate qualification that would simplify your change of direction.
Whether it’s in the evenings or during a sabbatical, there’s nothing like volunteering to help you pick up new skills and simultaneously show your commitment to the new sector in which you want to work. There are all sorts of ways to do this. If you’re interested in moving into pharmaceuticals, for instance, you could volunteer for a health charity that funds research. If your passion is for publishing, you could volunteer at a local small press. This kind of work will give you valuable experience that makes a much bigger impression on potential employers than qualifications alone. It helps to demonstrate that you’re capable of making a successful transition, and it will boost your own confidence as well when the time comes to take the leap.
Though it’s a big challenge, switching career could make a huge positive difference to your life. For instance, if you have business skills and a passion for art, you could work for an organization such as Art Futures Group, which specializes in managing art investment. It’s a chance to say goodbye to your daily frustrations and really feel that you’re doing something that matters to you. You may be surprised by what you’re capable of, giving you the assurance to also start making positive changes in the rest of your life.